by Danny Wade
A county-wide event will take place Saturday evening in Trenton. Gibson County Relay for Life will be the place to be.
This year, Relay will be held at Trenton’s Shady Acres Park on Manufacturers Row. The event is a combination of Trenton, Milan, Humboldt, North Gibson County and Medina Relay for Life celebrations.
“Last year we combined all the Relay for Life in the county into one big event in Milan,” said Donna Stines, senior development manager for the American Cancer Society. “We need community support to come out and unite for the fight against cancer.”
Another change that occurred last year was shortening the hours. Some Relays would go all night long until sunrise. But the hours were changed with the opening ceremony at 6 p.m. and wrapping up with the closing at 11 p.m. Stines said the changes were made to better fit people’s lifestyles.
The theme this year is “Disney Movies”, according to Megan Greene, community development manager for the American Cancer Society, which includes Gibson County. Some teams may be in costume or have some type of Disney theme incorporated into their campsites.
“This year, we have 35 teams from Gibson County with Ceco Doors the title sponsor,” Greene noted.
As always, there is a very entertaining line up for the night that includes music, singing and games. A favorite event will be back this year—Pet Pageant. There will be trophies for the most money raised as well as winners in categories: Face Only a Mother Can Love, Best Costume, Best Tail Wagger, Smallest, Biggest and Cutest.
Relay for Life schedule of events:
6 p.m. Opening Ceremony
•Welcome: Trenton Mayor Ricky Jackson
•Invocation: Bro. James Rogers
•National Anthem: Rachel Johnson
•Honorary Chair & Sponsorship Recognition
•Survivor Walk: “The Climb” Miley Cyrus
•Caregiver Walk: “Won’t Let Go” Rascal Flatts
7 p.m. School of Rock (students from Trenton)
7:20 p.m. Minute to Win It games
7:30 p.m. Pet Pageant
8 p.m. Blues Brothers
8:20 p.m. Minute to Win It games
8:30 p.m. Line Dance Class
9 p.m. Tony Burriss Band
9:20 p.m. Minute to Win It games
9:30 p.m. Miss Greater Gibson County, Maddie Vernon
9:15 p.m. Miss West TN, Abbie Bayless
10 p.m. Luminaria Ceremony/Torches
The Empty Table
11 p.m. Fight Back Ceremony, Closing
Relay for Life is one of the largest fundraisers each year for the American Cancer Society. Funds raised are used in a number of ways from research to find a cure, assisting families battling cancer, support for families and caregivers, and so much more.
Stines and Greene offered some statistics of how funds were used in Gibson County alone. In 2018, 50 patients received 465 various services. Of those, 15 stayed a total of 206 nights in a Hope Lodge in either Memphis or Nashville. Hope Lodge is similar to the Ronald McDonald House with St. Jude where the patient and caregiver stay over night for free.
Stines said one of the biggest needs in Gibson County is providing transportation to and from treatment. Volunteer drivers are always needed for the Road to Recovery program. If you would like to be a volunteer drive, please call 731-664-1084. If you need transportation to receive treatment, contact the American Cancer Society directly at 800-227-2345.
With lives on the line and so much more work and research needed to battle cancer, donations to Relay for Life are an important part.
“Gibson County has a very dedicated committee making Gibson County’s Relay for Life top notch,” Greene added. “Without them, Relay would not be as great as it is.”